ENT and plot in non-plot games on the example of Throne: Kingdom at War

Can there be a plot in every mobile online game? How to serve it unobtrusively? Is it mandatory to use dialogs for this? The Copywriting team at Plarium Krasnodar shares narrative findings.

ENT in front-end text

NPCs usually talk about the device of the world, or this is stated in the description of quests. In the mobile multiplayer strategy, the role of the “storyteller” is played by interface texts – descriptions and names of things, units, improvements, etc. They allow you to unobtrusively open the world without distracting those who are focused on gameplay, and leaving it possible to easily find information about the lore. For example, in the Throne, the description of Research is conditionally divided into two parts: artistic and technical. A player who wants to know only the Research bonus can go directly to the desired line, and a lover lover can read everything.

The lore of the Throne contained in the interface texts goes beyond the boundaries of game locations: its history, geography and culture are much wider than the current content. Prescribing new countries, entities and characters, we tried to create connections between them and the existing game world, to show their interaction.

For example, each item of the Inquisitor has a unique description in the form of a quote from the Prayer Book – not just a religious book invented by us, but presented in the game as an object for increasing the Inquisitor’s experience points.

In addition to the Kingdoms of Amaria, players can access the island of Dominion, where once there was a great civilization ruled by the Emperor. Any Lord can get this title – not without a fierce struggle, of course. The player learns about the affairs of the Emperor from texts about a special imperial set of things similar in style to chronicles.

The main events of the game are taking place in Amaria and the Dominion, but there are also terrain “behind the scenes” – the harsh mountain of Wess, the sultry Dor and the rocky, washed by the seas South archipelago. You can learn about Wess and Dor from descriptions of clan things, and information on the culture and military achievements of all countries is presented in Studies of the Foreign Tactics category.

Representatives of the Southern archipelago do not have their own set of equipment, but these experienced sailors came to Amaria themselves – as part of Tier VI.

Tier VII is associated with the Inquisition and the alchemists, who together created this new army. The appearance of alchemists in the game is due to the Alchemy Laboratory building already existing in the player’s city.

How restrictions help expand the ENT

The eternal problem of mobile games is that there is little screen space. As a result, severe restrictions on the volume of text. As a solution, you can turn to the player’s cultural background, so that he himself complements the narrative. Toya Kristen Finley in Narrative Tactics for Mobile and Social Games: Pocket-Sized Storytelling leads Plague Inc. as an example of a game that gives a wide scope for imagination. There are no texts describing the course of the pandemic, but the player’s inner voice itself draws scenes with the scientists’ feverish work on the vaccine or the arrival of infected ships in ports.

Large strokes, without going into details, describe the situation in order to wake up the player’s imagination. Sometimes we use this technique. For example, the Tournament “War of the Kingdoms: Rebellion” does not have a strict description, and the player responds independently to questions about who organized the riot and who should suppress it. Perhaps it was the troops of the less successful Lords who rebelled and seized strategically important positions – the Tower of the rebels – or maybe not. Nothing restricts fantasy.

Or another example. In the clan city, you can create an event “Championship”, and for its holding the building “Arena” is necessary. With these names, we inform the player about the competitive, almost sporting nature of fights, that they are akin to knightly tournaments. NPC neutral armies come to the Championship, these are the troops of barons, Viscounts and other noble rulers. The player can think of the details of what is happening, using imagination and knowledge of history.

Same thing with the Dominion that we talked about above. There, the player sees the ruins of a great civilization, but does not receive an answer to the question of why the state collapsed. It seemed to mysteriously disappear overnight, leaving behind the Emperor’s Bastion, weapons, scientific works, but most importantly – the monsters of Cernunnos and Taurus, who roam the forests of the island.

How to deepen the story with NPCs

If the game has non-player characters, but there are no quests and dialogs, their characters can be revealed in other areas of the gameplay, while expanding the ENT.

Almost all mobile strategies have a tutorial character, in Tron it is Lady in red. In addition to the training scenes, it can be seen in the bank offer with special equipment called the “Set of Excellence”.

In the descriptions of the equipment, the Lady’s voice in red sounds, she talks about the great rulers of Amaria. So the character’s role expands: we understand that this is also an educated court lady who helps the player even outside the tutorial.

Our other NPC is Inquisitor Anna Groza Zamkov, she has good bonuses for conducting Sieges. But the story of this Inquisitor is not limited to military campaigns: it becomes clear from the description of the siege gun “Armageddon” that Anna is his creator, which means that she is not only a skilled tactician, but also an outstanding engineer.

Stories of different NPCs can be linked. On the map of the Kingdom there is an Apostate named Warlock, who was once a scientist, but lost his mind and began to conduct occult experiments. Players may encounter one of his “labors” during some holiday events, namely Crazy Flanders – a giant rabbit busting the Kingdom.

All these methods allowed us to expand the world of the game and find new motives for descriptive texts. If you know other examples of unusual plot presentation in games, feel free to share them in the comments.

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